Your thyroid is a vital gland that looks like a butterfly, it is present in your throat. The thyroid is a busy gland – it performs a ton of important jobs such as keeping your metabolism going strong, regulating your temperature, controlling your heart, and regulating functions of the brain and the digestive system. If something goes awry with your thyroid, all these functions will take a hit. That is why it is a good idea to keep this organ happy and healthy.
In this article, we will talk about the thyroid- what kind of thyroid diseases are there, identifying them and what you can do to keep the thyroid gland healthy.
What Kind of Thyroid Diseases Are There?
There are two major disorders of the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
When the thyroid gland is not able to produce as much of thyroid hormone (thyroxine) as the body needs, you get hypothyroidism. It triggers a wide range of symptoms-
- Rapid weight gain
- Difficulty in dealing with cold
- Body cramps, muscle ache and joint pain
- Sluggish heart rate, movement and speech are affected
- Dehydrated skin
- Sweating less than usual
- Fragile hair and nails
- High level of bad cholesterol
- Insomnia, anaemia and depression
When hypothyroidism affects children, these symptoms surface -
- Delayed onset of puberty
- Slow development of the brain
- Delayed overall growth
Hypothyroidism can be caused by:
- An autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s Disease when your immune system starts attacking perfectly healthy thyroid cells and inhibits the gland’s functions.
- Undergoing a surgery that removes a large portion of the thyroid gland can create a deficit of thyroxine.
- Radiation therapy of cancers of the neck or the head can damage the thyroid.
- Another major cause is iodine deficiency.
Treatment of hypothyroidism is purely based on medication. The person will have to take synthetic thyroxine pills. Doctors will also urge you to increase your iodine intake from foods.
The reverse of hypothyroidism, you get hyperthyroidism when your thyroid gland produces more thyroxine than you need. Here are some classic symptoms of hyperthyroidism-
- Perpetual hunger
- Loss of concentration
- Irregular heart rate
- Hair fall
- Development of breasts in men
- Severe weight loss
Hyperthyroidism is extra-dangerous because it can lead to atrial defibrillation that can result in a stroke or a heart failure.
If you want to know more about minimising your risk of atrial defibrillation, you can talk to a doctor online on DocsApp.
Here are some culprits behind hyperthyroidism-
- An auto-immune disease called Grave’s Disease
- Inflammation of the thyroid gland
- Excessive iodine intake
- Ovarian tumours or tumours of the testes
- Tumours (benign) of the thyroid or the pituitary gland
To treat hyperthyroidism, doctors prescribe medicines that inhibit the production of thyroxine. These pills will can regularise your heartbeat and reign in anxiety or depression.
Another treatment option is radioactive iodine which can destroy cells that are responsible for producing thyroxine.If medication and therapy do not work, you may have to go under the knife.
Can you prevent thyroid problems?
While you can’t actively stop thyroid problems from happening, you can reduce the likelihood of contracting them-
- Stop smoking, the toxins from tobacco can impede the normal functions of your thyroid gland.
- Keep an eye on your iodine intake. Make sure you are getting just the right amount. Dairy products and whole grains are excellent sources of iodine.
- To detect a problem at the earliest and make treatment easier, do a self-thyroid-test. Feel your neck for any irregularities or bumps.
Thyroid problems can be quite complicated and trigger many unpleasant symptoms. Lead a healthy lifestyle and if you contract any thyroid disease, stick to your medication.